By David K.
A shake-up at the top of the BCS rankings could benefit the Pac-12, but there was plenty of shake-up to go around here at home too. Meanwhile, Larry Scott and the Pac-12 watch with amusement as the rest of the country is in the grips of the latest rounds of Conferencemageddon.
1. Stanford (7-0, 5-0 Pac-12)
The Cardinal made a strong statement on Saturday with their pummeling of the Huskies, the only team on their schedule so far who has a winning record. Stanford dominated on both sides of the ball, especially up front. As they continue moving through the meatier part of their schedule, the Cardinal can help themselves in the BCS standings with wins while hoping more teams at the top stumble. With games left against USC and Oregon, plus the Pac-12 championship game (likely against Arizona State), Stanford stands a reasonable shot at playing for the national title.
2. Oregon (6-1, 4-0)
The Ducks played a nearly flawless game, their only real mistake was allowing a safety, and ruining their shutout game against the Buffalo. Without star players La Michael James and Darron Thomas no less. I doubt WSU will give them much trouble this week.
3. USC (6-1, 3-1)
Notre Dame was picked to win by at least a touch down. The Irish were rolling and were going to make it two straight against the Trojans with a victory in this game. Someone apparently forgot to tell the Trojans that. They beat the Irish by a two TD margin. Afterwards a number of Trojan players commented that it looked like the Irish defense gave up towards the end. Yeah I think this rivalry is alive and well. With the win USC SHOULD have become bowl eligible, but of course the NCAA sucks.
4. ASU (5-2, 3-1)
The Sun Devils had a week off to like their wounds from the beat down Oregon’s backups gave them. Still the odds on favorite for the Pac-12 South Championship and a possible rematch with the Ducks in December.
5. Washington (5-2, 3-1)
That thud you hear is the sound of the Cardinal O-line knocking out the Huskies D-line. The Huskies have improved dramatically since bottoming out in 2008, but still have a way to go before they can be an elite team in the conference again, especially on defense. Still Washington SHOULD notch their sixth win and bowl eligibility on Saturday against Arizona at home, as long as they aren’t looking ahead to the matchup with bitter rival Oregon.
6. Cal (4-3, 1-3)
Two teams with winless conference record entered
Memorial Stadium AT&T Park on Saturday but the Bears left with the win in lopsided fashion. Despite 8 penalties against them Cal controlled the ground and the air, holding the Utes to under 180 yards of offense (including a mere 13 on the ground) while getting more than double that total themselves. Three winnable games ahead for the Bears, who only need two to reach a bowl.
7. Oregon State (2-5, 2-2)
Despite a rough start to their season the Beavers aren’t rolling over just yet. An upset win over WSU moved OSU to 2-2 in conference, but the path to a winning season is going to require more dramatic wins with games against Stanford, Washington and Oregon still to come.
8. Arizona (2-5, 1-4)
How would the Wildcats react two weeks after losing their head coach? Quite well it turns out. They walloped the visiting Bruins by 36 points. However their brief resurgence could be cut short by a visit to Washington on Saturday night.
9. Utah (3-4, 0-4)
Freshman blues continue for Utah after dropping another conference game and slipping to 3-4 overall. They can still salvage their season and earn their first conference win against Oregon State. The remainder of their schedule is filled with fellow teams from the conferences bottom half so the Utes can prove they don’t belong at the bottom…or that they do.
10. UCLA (3-4, 2-2)
The Rick Neuheisal farewell tour continue on with a humbling loss to Arizona whose last FBS win came against the Bruins last year. The race is on to see whether Slick Rick can outlast his fellow coach on the hot seat Paul Wulff.
11. Washington State (3-4, 1-3)
Speaking of Paul Wulff, things are not rosy in Pullman, when even the student paper is calling for your head. The cries will undoubtedly get louder after the Cougs inevitably lose in Eugene on Saturday. Despite slow improvement it may not be enough for the Coug faithful. Perhaps WSU can use some of their revenue from the new Pac-12 media deal to afford a better coach. As a Husky fan I sure hope Wulff gets one more year.
12. Colorado (1-7, 0-4)
If Utah thought it was rough being the new kid in town they can at least be glad they aren’t Colorado. The Buffs would have been better off just staying home on Saturday. In addition to being humiliated on the field, two more players were added to Colorado’s already high injured list. Oh yeah, the Buffalo also became the first bowl ineligible team for the Pac-12 (excluding of course unfairly ineligible USC).